Blunt joins call for more FSMA public comment

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) joined a bipartisan group of legislators who requested on Monday that the FDA release a second draft of regulations for Food Safety Modernization Act rules to provide more public comment.

Upton was among 75 members of Congress who signed a letter to the FDA that raised concerns about how the proposed rules will affect businesses and farmers.

“Despite (the FDA’s) efforts to engage with stakeholders during the rulemaking process, we remain concerned about the ambiguity surrounding many aspects of these proposed rules,” the legislators said.

The senators took issue with the frequency of water testing required for farmers, limits on the use biological soil amendments, compliance issues with mixed-use facilities and new requirements that contradict standing USDA policies.

“After hearing many reservations from our farmers and businesses, we are concerned that the rules as currently proposed and (that) the heavy cost of complying with them will force some producers and processors to shutter their operations,” the legislators said.

The FSMA rules also limit the definitions of the terms “farm” and “small businesses” and doesn’t adequately address complexities of farm ownership entities, the legislators added.

“By seeking additional input through second proposed rules for public comment before final rules, we believe that producers’ concerns can be addressed and unintended consequences can be greatly mitigated,” the lawmakers said.